Our hearts broke when we had to say goodbye to sweet Blackie – our very special little gibbon. Blackie was born in the jungles of Thailand. Wild caught, he ended up with an animal dealer who exported him to the US where he would be used in research for the next 20 years! In 1984 Blackie arrived at IPPL with his mate Penny and their daughter E.T. from the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP). They had all been used in research before coming to IPPL where they joined their daughter, Shanti, who was sent to us the previous year. Penny passed away in 2006 and in 2010 Blackie was introduced to Chloe. The two of them remained a very bonded pair.
Blackie was deaf, but you would never have known it because this “disability” never interfered with his quality of life. His vocalizations were deeper and less controlled than those of the other male gibbons, but he would still “whoop” along with the other gibbons when he saw them singing – as if he was reading their lips! In addition to singing, Blackie was an accomplished dancer. Sometimes, he’d do an excited quick-stomping dance routine and would move like a ballerina, twirling around with his arms flung in the air!

Blackie died on 15 September 2019. He was estimated to be over 60 – our oldest gibbon and possibly the oldest gibbon in the world. Despite his age, this engaging little gibbon continued to whoop when he saw the other gibbons singing, he continued to love raisin bread, and of course – dancing!

We shall always remember Blackie and are so grateful that we were able to rescue him from a life of horror to his wonderful life at IPPL.